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China wine drinkers increase, UK biggest importer: new figures

China’s wine consumption and wine production are set to increase exponentially over the next four years.

According to the latest figures from International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), commissioned by Vinexpo, consumption of wine by China and Hong Kong increased by over 100% between 2005 and 2009, from 46.9m to 95.9m cases.

The organisation predicts that this figure will increase a further 20% by 2014, to 126.4m cases.

In terms of domestic production of wine, China is set to increase by 77% over the next four years, from an average 72m cases to 128m cases.

Those wishing to take advantage of this burgeoning market should remember that 90% of the wine drunk in China is domestically produced, Vinexpo chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre said at a press conference in London today

France, Italy and Spain remain the world’s biggest producers of wine, accounting for just under half of the world’s production of 3bn cases.

However, by 2014 these countries’ production is expected to decline by between one and seven percent.

This is due mainly to more efficient management of vineland, grubbing up of unprofitable vineyards, and concentration on quality by reduction of yields, Robert Beynat, Vinexpo chief executive, said.

The only countries to increase production will be Argentina by over 13%, Chile by 8%, South Africa by 7%, and China.

While the US will be the world’s biggest consumer of wine by 2012, with over 300m cases taking over from Italy at the top of the table, the UK is the world’s largest importing nation both by value and volume.

Britons spend more in total on still and sparkling wine than the French: Britain imported 1.77bn bottles in 2010, to a value of £8.6bn.

However, in terms of per capita consumption we are only tenth in the table.

In an anomaly, Britain consumes more white wine per capita than any other country: 44% of all wine drunk. By contrast, consumption of red wine has declined 8% over the last five years and is forecast to decrease more by 2014.

At the same time, the British are among the world’s most enthusiastic rosé drinkers: we are the fourth largest market for rosé, consuming 10% of the world’s total production.

As consumers, Russia, the US and China are expected to show the most growth over the next four years, increasing consumption by 20.7m cases in China, 27m cases in the US and 5.5m cases in Russia.

Of the 3bn cases, or 36bn bottles, produced worldwide, a quarter is exported. Vinexpo estimates that one in four bottles is drunk in a country in which it was not made. This figure is expected to increase.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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